Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hurricane Season & Dolphin Tale: Hurricanes, Katrina

I love the city of New Orleans and what happened to it because of hurricane Katrina really broke my heart. Whenever there is a natural catastrophe, talking about what happened is inevitable. This post is informative and a great conversation generator. Moreover, this is a wonderful under-rated movie.

I. Divide the class in three groups.




When a hurricane season starts -

The time to start your preparations is long before a hurricane watch is issued for your area. A good time to begin is during Hurricane Awareness Week, which occurs the week before hurricane season begins on June 1st. This is the time to make a hurricane plan or assess the one you have already formulated. Go through your hurricane supplies and replace any items that are outdated. Test your flash lights and other battery operated equipment. Check your shutters to ensure they're in good working condition. You may even want to deploy one or two to make sure they fit properly and you remember how they go up. Update any emergency numbers and phone numbers for family contacts outside the area. Pick up a hurricane preparedness brochure at the store and review it for pertinent tips and useful information.

When a hurricane watch is issued for your area -

Now is the time to double check your supplies, your shutters, and your plans. If there are any actions in your plan that need to be done long before you hunker down, now is the best time. You should get some cash from the bank or ATM and gas up your car. The longer you wait, the longer the lines will be, wasting your time.

When a hurricane warning is issued for your area -

Now is the time for action! Put up your shutters before the winds get too high. Clean up your yard and prep your pool. Lower your refrigerator temperature and fill up your bathtub and any extra jugs with water. If you are evacuating, prepare your property first then leave the area with plenty of time ahead since roads will become congested soon after the warning is issued.

Information taken from the informative site:

 II. Group up the students so you can have one student from each of the previous groups. They share what they have just read without referring to the original texts.

III. Complete the blanks with the correct word:

1. A ________________is a giant whirlpool that covers land. A ____________ is a whirlwind. (HURRICANE/TORNADO)

2. ______________ form over land from
thunderstorms. ______________ form over water and covers all sorts of spinning storms from a standard low pressure system to a ______________. (TORNADOES / CYCLONES / HURRICANE)

3. In themselves nothing, they are both the same thing. The distinction is that _________________ form in the Atlantic, and _________ form in the Pacific Ocean. (HURRICANES / TYPHOONS)

4. ____________ Hurricanes are LARGE scale weather systems that form over warm ocean waters near the equator due to the convergence of several factors, including LOW wind shear, warm ocean water, and the Coriolis force. They are large features that exist over time scales of many hours to days. ___________ form in super cell thunderstorms, which are rotating thunderstorms that form in conditions of HIGH wind shear and large atmospheric instability. They are small features that exist on small time scales of minutes to an hour. (HURRICANES / TORNADOES)

Answer key: The alternatives are in the correct order.

IV. Read some of the facts about the hurricane Katrina, which destroyed New Orleans in 2005. Decide which ones you believe are true.

a. Hurricane Katrina was one of the deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States, killing over 1,800 people.

b. The confirmed death toll (total of direct and indirect deaths) stood at 1,836, mainly from Louisiana (1,577) and Mississippi (238). However, 705 people remain categorized as missing in Louisiana, so this number is not final. Many of the deaths are indirect. It is almost impossible to determine the exact cause of some of the fatalities.

c. Katrina was the largest hurricane of its strength to approach the United States in recorded history, causing devastation over 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the storm's center.

d. New Orleans' levee failures were found to be primarily the result of system design flaws, combined with the lack of adequate maintenance.

e.Hurricane Katrina was the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, with $75 billion in estimated damages.

f. More than 70 countries pledged monetary donations or other assistance. Kuwait made the largest single pledge, $500 million; other large donations were made by Qatar ($100 million), India ($5 million), China ($5 million), Pakistan ($1.5 million), and Bangladesh ($1 million)

g. New Orleans new levees have been rebuilt and are able to prevent another catastrophe of the kind if it happens again.

Information taken from the Discovery Site:

Answer key: All are true, except letter g, because the levees won't be ready before 2013.

V. Watch the segment from the movie Hurricane Season and talk about the questions that follow.


1. Describe the scene.

2. What were some of the consequences of the hurricane devastation that you managed to see in the segment?

3. What images shocked you most? Why?

4. Have you ever been caught by a natural disaster (earthquakes, tsunami, hurricane, flood, or others)? Talk about it.

5. Is your living area susceptible to natural catastrophes?

6. Why do some people insist in living in areas that are at risk of a catastrophe, such as the eruption of a volcano, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, etc?

Watch the segment from the movie Dolphin Tale and discuss the questions:


1. Describe the scene:

2. What were some of the steps the characters took in order to get protected from the hurricane damages?

3.How severe was the destruction?

4. What was not observed by the characters when they were getting ready to shelter themselves.




  1. Seeing the hurricane on TV already made ​​me afraid, moreover have to deal directly with a storm like that, I can not imagine having to face the hurricane in real situation

  2. Good info here. Long time reader, first time poster....keep it up please!